Elf on the Shelf Sugar Cookies

Elf on the Shelf Giant Cookie – Candy Coated Culinista

I have been on a real decorating kick since the summer and I have seemingly craving to amp up my decorating skills. I don’t know why the sudden push has come upon me, maybe it’s just time and I’m excited to see how I improve and grow. This cookie has been an unused pan in my cupboard for about three years now and this Christmas I’m feeling extra inspired to expand my decorating skills.

Yield/Serving: 3 elves &amp & 6 assorted sugar cookies
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 15 min. per cookie
Difficulty level is: Easy to bake, Medium-Hard for decorating & very time consuming

Ingredients
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
• ½ tsp almond extract
• 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 2 tsp red, green & white nonpareils
• 1 tbsp Dutch processed cocoa
Icing
• ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
• 2 tsp milk
• Food colouring, to desired colour

Assembly
Sugar Cookies

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together using the paddle attachment at medium speed until light and fluffy.
4. Beat egg, vanilla extract and almond extract into mixture.
5. In a separate bowl whisk flour and salt together and combine with butter mixture.
6. Beat until well incorporated.
7. Separate mixture out into 3 equal portions.
8. Press the plain sugar cookie mixture (1/3 of the dough) into the pan filled ¼” deep and bake for 15 minutes or until edges are light brown.
9. Meanwhile add nonpareils to the second portion of sugar cookies and incorporate and then set aside.
10. Finally add the cocoa powder to the finally portion of dough, incorporate and set aside.
11. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
12. Spray non-stick cooking spray over the cookie pan again and add one portion of the dough, cook for 15 minutes and let cool for 10 minutes.
13. Repeat step 12 again with the cocoa powder portion of the dough.
14. Let all the cookies cool completely and then decorate.
15. Prepare the icing and first outline the cookies and let that icing dry before flooding the interior with icing and then let that dry. (Ensure the icing isn’t too runny as it will run off the cookie. There is a subtle balance regarding the consistency of the border icing and flooding icing. You may want to add a touch more milk after doing the borders to get the icing to flood across the cookie easier.)

Tips
• Add more or less milk depending on how your dough is coming together.
• Don’t add vanilla extract to white icing as then the icing will lose its white colour.
• You can make the cookies ahead of time and decorate the next day.
• Remember you will need to set aside a nice chunk of time to decorate.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was a very time consuming task. It was zen like and yet stressful all at the same time as I decorated it. Mind you this was my second attempt at properly decorating a cookie; so in that regard I am very pleased with my outcome. I’m a little mad that I didn’t realize I don’t have Caucasian coloured food colouring or brown food colouring in the house as the other day I grabbed a whole bunch of gel colourings. I had to opt for a pale yellow skin and black hair and I’m ok with that but not really as it’s the perfectionist in me saying do better. I realized my cheeks were a touch too rosey; but again it’s my second try and I need to give myself a break. This isn’t a skill I’m going to acquire in two attempts late at night after putting in ten plus hours at work. On a plus at the last minutes I thought to split the dough three ways and I’m glad I did as I can experiment in one shot and see the outcomes. The nonpareils cookie turned out the best as it was very festive and the sugar cookie as well. The cocoa sugar cookie was a drier mixture as another dry ingredient was added after the fact. I would suggest adding a little milk or water to just slightly moisten it up. As you can see the cocoa cookie didn’t stay together the best. I was still able to decorate it; but it definitely needed a touch more moisture. These will be given to a co-worker the plain cookies for her and her hubby to split and the nonpareils for the kids. I was worried this recipe had too much sugar; but I was told this was the right amount of sugar and I need to just stop worrying about so much sugar as this is a sugar cookie.

Elf on the Shelf Giant Cookie – Candy Coated Culinista

Elf on the Shelf Giant Cookie – Candy Coated Culinista

Elf on the Shelf Giant Cookie – Candy Coated Culinista

Cupcake Decorating: Practice #3

Cupcake Practice #3 - Candy Coated Culinista

Cupcake Practice #3 – Candy Coated Culinista

For the Easter weekend I made 48 cupcakes for our church brunch and here a small sampling of the cupcakes. I made 1 dozen French vanilla cupcakes, 1 dozen chocolate and the two dozen half French vanilla and half chocolate cupcakes. The frostings were: Chocolate frosting, white chocolate frosting and classic vanilla buttercream. As it the Easter season I bought a bunch of peeps to decorate. I tried three different piping tips and I must say this is the most cupcakes I have ever made. I never really thought I could make such a large batch of cupcakes; but I did and they were enjoyed by all. Not to sweet and so cute and themed.

Cupcake Practice #3 - Candy Coated Culinista

Cupcake Practice #3 – Candy Coated Culinista

Zombie Infected Minion Cupcake Decorating Practice #3

Zombie Infected Minion Cupcakes - Candy Coated Culinista

Zombie Infected Minion Cupcakes – Candy Coated Culinista

“He’s so fluffy, I’m gonna die!” “Silas Ramsbottom …. Bottom.” “ Bee Doo Bee Doo Bee Doo.” Believe it or not these have become a part of my vocabulary and I’m an adult … well sort of an adult. Since the first moment I saw Despicable Me I have fallen in love with these movies and I even have a plushie Agnes, Unicorn and Minions. As usual for Halloween I like to make a kid-friendly treat for the kids at church, but let’s face it the adults love them as much as the kids and sometimes even more. I wanted to make some Zombie Infected Minion Cupcakes with cupcakes from scratch; but of course when I don’t want my cupcakes to rise, they rise the highest they ever have and also look a little anemic and lacked flavour. I think I shouldn’t have batched down a larger cupcake recipe of mine. Oh well this gives me time to practice on my decorating skills.

Yield/Serving: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients
• 1 pack of Halloween themed Wilton baking cups (cupcake liners)
• 1 box of Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe White Cake
• 3 extra large egg whites (per Duncan Hines box)
• 1 1/3 cup water (per Duncan Hines box)
• 2 tbsp canola oil (per Duncan Hines box)
• 1 box of Twinkies
• 99g Wilton Sparkle Gel, black
• Wilton Candy Eyeballs
• 1 – 450g Creamy Home-Style Vanilla frosting
• 1 Vial (teardrop) of blue food colouring
• 1A piping tip
• Piping bag
• Handful of brown jimmies, for hair

Assembly
1. Bake the cupcakes per the box instructions and fill 24 cupcake liners.
2. Once baked, immediately remove from baking pans and move to wire racks to cool completely.
3. Unwrap the Twinkies and cut in half.
4. Using the black sparkle gel, draw on a line for the goggles and a bigger dot in the middle and adhere a candy eyeball in the top portion of the Twinkie half.
5. Draw on the mouths using sparkle gel and set aside.
6. Slowly pour and mix blue food colouring into the vanilla frosting.
7. Prepare the piping bag and pour in the frosting.
8. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes and top with your minions.
9. Add jimmies to the tops of some Twinkies to make hair.
10. There will be some cupcakes without Twinkies, just add an eyeball and some jimmies to the frosting.

Tips
• Ensure you don’t pipe right to the edges, as the frosting will spread when the Twinkies are pushed down into the frosting the frosting will spread to the edges.

Please Enjoy

Reviews
The reviews from the adults were thumbs up and these are so cute and creative. The kids just ate them without any thanks as that’s how kids are lol; but their blue teeth, noses and cheeks said they were good.

My thoughts
I had so much fun making these. I even had to buy a new set of bigger piping tips and I’m so happy that I can finally make cloud frosting even if the set was expensive I will use these tips alot. I thoroughly enjoyed it every step of the way and it really didn’t take too long. My biggest issue was getting the cupcakes into the container (the Twinkies wouldn’t let me close the container for transporting). For $20 I have some pretty crafty and awesome cupcakes for the kids at church.

Despicable Me Plushies - Candy Coated Culinista

Despicable Me Plushies – Candy Coated Culinista

Zombie Infected Minion Cupcakes - Candy Coated Culinista

Zombie Infected Minion Cupcakes – Candy Coated Culinista

Zombie Infected Minion Cupcakes - Candy Coated Culinista

Zombie Infected Minion Cupcakes – Candy Coated Culinista

Happy One Year Anniversary Celebration Cake

Happy 1 Year Anniversary Celebration Cake - Candy Coated Culinista

Happy 1 Year Anniversary Celebration Cake – Candy Coated Culinista

Happy Anniversary Candy Coated Culinista!

Cheers to one year of blogging.

As they say time flies and has it ever. Last May I finally decided to start this blog because my favourite cookies (Post #1 – Chocolate Diablo Cookies from the Tacofino Food Truck in BC) were a part of a cooking club challenge. I took this as a sign to do a little bit more with my love of baking and cooking, and till then my escapades sat on my laptop in many word documents just for myself. Since my mom passed away almost three years ago I have been promising myself to do and try everything once; even if I’m unsure whether it is a weird food or a new activity. Let’s face it we have no clue when our time is up and it would be great to say at the end, that we have tried and done all we could, when we could and was able to. With my new philosophy I have been keeping to it and am proud to have reached my one year with consistently posting and sharing my food journals. From my food to my DIY’s, my lemony letdowns to my quests, events, techniques and adventures I have enjoyed this blog immensely. Every day when I am going about my daily routine I find that food is always in my head in minor or major roles. I am thinking about food styling, photo shoots, food pairings, and “is this blog worthy” or not and just jotting down ideas on sticky notes for later. Sometimes things come from it and sometimes not; but one thing that I notice resonates with me is I love a good challenge. Occasionally the food I pick is a real challenge; but for me it’s all about the journey and what I learn from it. Even when my recipe becomes a lemony letdown it’s ok, because this is just step one in a journey to master what I am trying to achieve. One day I will get there no matter how many attempts it takes me.

Thanks for reading and enjoying my blog so far as I love hearing the comments and even the requests to try something new.

Happy 1 Year Anniversary Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 10
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 25 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
Cake
• 3 ½ cups cake flour, sifted
• 4 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
• 4 egg at room temperature
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1 cup 2% milk, at room temperature
• Sprinkles, confetti quinns, to decorate

Frosting
• 2 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 5 cup confectioners’ sugar
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• Food colouring

Assembly
Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Line two 9” round cake pan with parchment paper and grease and flour the parchment paper.
3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.
4. Using an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat butter until soft, 1-2 minutes.
5. Add ½ cup of sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
6. Add eggs and the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
7. On low speed continue add in the flour mixture and the milk alternating in three parts, ending with the flour and let mix until just combined.
8. Divide the batter into the two prepared cake pans and smooth the top.
9. Bake for 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
10. Let cool in pan until completely cooled.
11. Use a cake leveler and shave of excess if needed.
12. Place frosting on top of the first cake and frost, then place the second cake on top.
13. Frost the remaining sides of the cake.
14. Decorate with sprinkles
Frosting
1. Using an electric stand mixer with the whisk attachment cream butter on high until light and fluffy.
2. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.
3. Add confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time until well combined.
4. Add in vanilla extract and food colouring and combine.
5. Decorate the cake.
6. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Tips
• If your frosting is too thin, you can add more icing sugar a few tablespoons at a time until you achieve desired consistency.
• Wrap each cake in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1 hour to allow the frosting to adhere well.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was my second layered cake ever and I was quite pleased that my frosting this time wasn’t hard and it was easy to spread and decorate. I did find my cake to be dry and too crumbly though and I have to re-vamp this recipe. I still gave pieces to my friends as they have to suffer through the bad along with all my perfectly edible treats they get all the time. I told them upfront that “It’s a little on the dry side but you get all the good treats so you have to at least take a bite and chuck the rest. There is ten dollars in buttercream and that isn’t going to waste.” This is how you guilt people into eating your food and for my friends it works. My next attempt I think I will be to make a simple syrup to pour over the cake to help it stay moist and possibly find a cake decorating class in town. I also had issues moving the cake from the decorating table to the cake stand. I am such a novice I know I am missing some key important steps to make this whole process easier. I was still super proud of myself and almost a year from my first attempt at making a layered cake to today the results have vastly improved and for that I am truly thankful.

I received many compliments on my buttercream as it wasn’t overly sweet and had the perfect texture. I was even asked to make a batch for God-son’s mother. She was making cupcakes for her God-son and wanted my buttercream. Yippee! She is a wonderful cook, baker, seamstress, hairstylist basically anything creative she is great at; she even made my wedding, bridal shower and bachelorette party cakes. This made me feel totally amazing.

**** I did some quick research and it could really be anything : the oven temperature is too high, too much of an ingredient, not enough of another, over baked, the recipe itself, the flour, too many eggs or butter, not enough fat, too much sugar. These could all be the reason why my cake turned out poorly. It’s a great starting point but this is basically means any and possibly this entire recipe was wrong. I think it’s time to try another recipe and see what happens. I will decorate a cake again one I have achieved the perfectly moist cake.

Happy 1 Year Anniversary Celebration Cake - Candy Coated Culinista

Happy 1 Year Anniversary Celebration Cake – Candy Coated Culinista

Happy 1 Year Anniversary Celebration Cake - Candy Coated Culinista

Happy 1 Year Anniversary Celebration Cake – Candy Coated Culinista

Cupcake Decorating Practice #1

Cupcake Decorating Practice #1 - Candy Coated Culinista

Cupcake Decorating Practice #1 – Candy Coated Culinista

I planned on making homemade cupcakes for my birthday post, but like usual I got too busy and too many things preoccupied my time surrounding my birthday. One of my closest friends from childhood and also one of my bridesmaids is a January baby also; just 6 days after me. I made sure that over the weekend I was going to makes cupcakes, whether homemade or box and just jazzed up. I ended up making a box cupcake and added sprinkles and flavoured extracts, and premade frosting. My goal here was to practice icing a cupcake with a decorating bag/piping bag. For my first attempt I used one of my Christmas presents from 2012 a Dessert Decorator (a cylinder tube with a plunger top) along with the Star Tip. I found this to be so easy that after my first try it came out pretty well. I made cotton candy flavored blue frosting as this is her favourite colour.

Supplies:
• Dessert Decorator/ Decorating Bag/ Piping Bag
• Decorating Tips
• Cupcakes
• Frosting
• Food Colouring
• Star Quinns

Tips
• I tried both decorating piping the cupcakes with no stream (tail) and with and I found that with a tail seemed to work easier. I would suggest just don’t give it too much of a lead until you’re proficient in decorating.

Assembly
1. Arrange cupcakes.
2. Prepare frosting and add flavourings or colouring as desired.
3. Fill the decorator.
4. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes.
5. Decorate with star quinns

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I had a blast decorating these cupcakes and my friend was so excited when she saw them. She also loved that I remembered her favourite colour. I also gave a bunch to another friend (also a bridesmaid) and my second mom’s family. Mr. C said “great job hun” and of course I set aside some house cupcakes.

Cupcake Decorating Practice #1 - Candy Coated Culinista

Cupcake Decorating Practice #1 – Candy Coated Culinista

Cookie Decorating – Practice #1

Royal Icing Decorating - Candy Coated Culinista

Royal Icing Decorating – Candy Coated Culinista

Truth be told I am about 3 months late practicing how to decorate cookies. The plan was to make El Dia Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Sugar Skull cookies, as I love all things macabre and skulls being my focal point in this genre. There should have been a post November 1st 2013, but I had so many Halloween posts leading up to that day that I thought I should relax a bit. I also put a hold on it as I haden’t practiced or got myself all the tools needed, even though I had the sugar skull cookie cutters from my prize money for my Mini-Jumble Berry Tarts. Christmas rolls around and Bulk Barn is now selling pre-made gingerbread cookies and houses and royal icing. That’s perfect for me as I can just concentrate on the decorating aspect and not worry about making the gingerbread. I bought my supplies and what happens again, I have so many Christmas recipes and posts that I run out of time. Now it’s the first week in January and I am practicing now. The only good thing to my procrastination was that everyone in my life for Christmas either gave me cooking, baking or photography related presents and my second mom (she’s more like big sister and mom – my mom has always said if anything should happen to her this is my new mom) and that’s exactly how it worked out. Anyway back to the story, she and one of her sons (my god-son) gave me a unique measuring cup set that looks like seashells, as my god son thought they were unique just like his aunty C.C. and an icing pen set with all the decorating tips and the much needed offset spatula. Now I had everything I needed and I had no excuse, and I broke in my new icing set.

Supplies
• Gingerbread cookies
• Royal icing
• Sprinkles, quinns, coloured sugar (as decorations you like)
• Offset spatula

Assembly
1. Lay out cookies.
2. Pipe outlines around the edges of the cookie.
3. Let the outline set for 1 hour before flooding the interior.
4. Thin the icing in the microwave or add a little water at a time until runny.
5. Let the icing stand for 5 minutes to allow bubbles to rise to the top and then flood the cookies inside your outlines.
6. Use an offset spatula along with a toothpick to help the icing reach the edges.
7. Let cookies set for 1 hour and then pipe details or the next colour on top. Or when you have finished flooding the cookie sprinkle the sprinkles, quinns or coloured sugar on top immediately so they can adhere to the icing.

Tips
• I found it easier to work with the royal icing if it was slightly warm to get a more liquid consistency.
• Another option is to add water, a little at a time until the runny texture is achieved.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
My first cookies was a real disaster, you can always tell your first when your practicing something new. By the second cookie I had the hang of it (I was expecting this to take me longer, but maybe my artistic background kicked it). For my first practice at cookie decorating I am quite pleased with myself. I just have to work on my flooding technique and using the offset spatula. I am now feeling more confident and by November 1st 2014 I will have that El Dia Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Sugar Skull cookies post up for you to try.

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